Lufkin IHOP lightning strike victim had 'changed her life around'

Published: May. 22, 2013 at 9:53 AM CDT|Updated: May. 22, 2013 at 9:33 PM CDT
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The lightning strike left about an inch-deep hole in the parking lot at IHOP.
The lightning strike left about an inch-deep hole in the parking lot at IHOP.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin woman was struck and killed by lightning during Tuesday night's storms.

Around 10:30 p.m., a 31-year-old IHOP employee, Meshell Foxworth, was standing in the parking lot holding an umbrella when lightning struck her, entering into her upper torso and exiting through her lower legs. There were a number of witnesses who saw the strike and called for help.

Lufkin police say she was transported to Woodlands Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she later died.

Junelle Merritt was waiting for her mom inside IHOP when she heard a loud clap of thunder. Then she looked outside.

"I saw her laying on the ground," Merritt said. "Her umbrella moved and that's the time when the police were there and the ambulance and I saw her moving her arms."

Foxworth's sister, Audra Strickland, says sheriff's deputies came to her house and escorted her to the hospital.

"She was awake," Strickland said. "She just wasn't able to talk because she had a tube down her throat."

Doctors told Strickland her sister had two massive heart attacks caused by the lightning.

Strickland is devastated by the loss but takes comfort in one thing.

"Hey I hate to say this but she had a saying, go big or go home, she went big," Strickland said. "She would definitely be okay with going out that way. Nobody gets struck by lightning. Only Meshell could get struck by lightning."

Foxworth's friends and family say she loved her job here at IHOP. They say she came to work every day with a smile on her face, she was happy and she loved to give high fives.

"Always full of energy, always ready to work, always high fiving everybody," said Ofelia Martinez. "We've been doing that today high-fiving each other because that was her"

"Well if anybody knows her she is wild and crazy," Strickland said.

Her sister says she's been working hard over the past couple years to get her life together, including getting sober and losing weight.

"She changed her life around, lives for God and lives to change other people's lives," Strickland said.

Everyone who knew Foxworth says her laugh was infectious and she will be greatly missed.

Carroway Funeral Homes is handling arrangments. Her service will be Thursday at 3 p.m. She is survived by her three young sons.

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